Summary of report content
Healthwatch Salford carried out an Enter and View visit to Amblecote Gardens, a communal housing scheme that enable older people over 55, and others who require extra support, to continue to live independently with flexible support and the security of 24/7 emergency response and care from on-site staff.
- In this scheme City West are responsible for the organising and running of activities, mainly in the afternoons, with coffee mornings organised most mornings.
- Most tenant responses about activities were positive, a few were more critical. There was some tension between what could be organised and delivered and what tenants wanted. This was mainly down to expectations and lack of funds for certain activities and things like trips. Some tenants felt that some things should be paid for and provided and that it was not right for them to pay or be told that something could not happen unless they paid.
- Some of the points mentioned by tenants around activities were also reiterated by care staff, “individual needs are not catered for. Not enough outings or in-house entertainment provided.”
- Tenants felt safe in the scheme, many we spoke to felt happy when asked and agreed that living in an Extra Care Housing scheme was of benefit to them and their health. Some had some frustrations about how things were organised and thought that things could be much better, “happy but frustrated because it could be so much better,” and there were also a couple of reservations about staff attitudes and being listened to.
- Tenants mainly felt that their care needs were being fully met and there were also positive comments and compliments about staff, with some observations about care staff being very busy, “yes. The staff are lovely but overworked”. Some care staff also reported not always having enough time to care for tenants, further stating that it depended on the tenant and their care needs.
- Care staff reported that they were well supported and encouraged to develop through training and that they had a good team. There were, however, a few comments about the pay being minimum wage and this not reflecting the work or level of responsibility, resulting in some not feeling valued because of this.
- Communication seemed to be an issue for some tenants, with many comments about this when asked. Some tenants felt that there was a lack of feedback and seemed disengaged because of this i.e. not attending tenant meetings because they did not feel anything changed as a result. When asked, most of the tenants said that staff treated them with dignity and respect, “yes. they will do anything for you”.
Recommendations – care provider
- The care provider should consider what level of support and involvement can be given around activities with housing
- The care provider should improve the visibility of feedback mechanisms and action taken in response to feedback by using ‘you said, we did’ visual display boards and other methods that are updated in line with Q&As and other feedback mechanisms to ensure responsiveness is timely and to reassure tenants that their comments and suggestions are being considered.
- The care provider should review contracted hours with social services and the number of tenants with high care needs and more advanced dementia now living at the scheme.
- In the light of the number of residents with dementia in the facility, the care provider should undertake a review of suitability and safety, based on concerns voiced by both staff and tenants and notes from tenant’s care plans.
Recommendations – housing
- The new Community Wellbeing Officer should work closely with other housing staff and the local community to come up with solutions to some of the issues raised by care staff and tenants and reengage tenants in the development and running of activities, managing expectations. They should also get in touch with Salford CVS around volunteer involvement.
- The housing provider should take action on the accessibility findings of this report.
- The housing provider should review the current maintenance contractors and their responsiveness, rating them against standard of repairs, customer service, speed of repairs etc, and discuss an action plan to resolve some of the reported issues
- The housing provider should add appropriate pictorial signage to the tenant’s kitchen.
Both the care and housing providers responded positively to the report with detailed responses to the recommendations.